Get the most from the city that never sleeps

Paul Hop­kins picks up the hec­tic pace and re­veals his top Ir­ish New York City at­trac­tions

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - TRAVEL -

Here’s the thing: life in New York, in par­tic­u­lar Man­hat­tan, is fast­paced and as busy as the prover­bial bee, and walk­ing quickly isn’t just about get­ting from one place to the next as fast as pos­si­ble; it’s a point of pride. If you’re not keep­ing up with the break­neck pace, then na­tive New York­ers will ask you to kindly step aside and let them pass.

You’ve got three days, maybe five, per­haps even a week to dis­cover — or redis­cover as in my case — the city that never sleeps, and it can be hec­tic at that break­neck pace. Hav­ing hit the Big Ap­ple, for the novice and the ini­ti­ated there is so much to do and see and ex­pe­ri­ence.

Here are — your ‘one a day’, if you go for a week — seven top Ir­ish places of in­ter­est in NYC.

Amer­i­can Ir­ish His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, 991 Fifth Ave., be­tween 80th and 81st streets: This in­sti­tu­tion houses many of the great his­tor­i­cal records of the Ir­ish. A ver­i­ta­ble trea­sure trove for some­one who cher­ishes his­tory.

Glucks­man Ire­land House, 1 Wash­ing­ton Mews, at Fifth Av­enue: A great place, on a nightly ba­sis, to ex­pe­ri­ence the best of Ir­ish cul­ture. Po­lit­i­cal speak­ers, play­wrights and peo­ple who are well known speak here, such as writer Pete Hamill, for­mer Ir­ish Pres­i­dent Mary McAleese and ac­tors Liam Nee­son and Gabriel Byrne.

Ir­ish Arts Cen­ter, 553 51st St., be­tween 10th and 11th av­enues: Ex­pe­ri­ence the best of Ir­ish the­atre and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties. A won­der­ful place to bring chil­dren, and to un­der­stand the cul­ture that shapes the Ir­ish in Amer­ica.

O’Neill’s Ir­ish Bar, 729 Third Ave., be­tween 45th and 46th streets: Won­der­ful old-fash­ioned Ir­ish pub that serves bangers and mash. On the wall, brought over from Ire­land, you have ad­ver­tise­ments of Ir­ish train sched­ules from 100 years ago and of old tav­erns, and old Guin­ness ads that are 60, 70 years old. Like step­ping back into the past.

Ir­ish Reper­tory The­atre, 132 W. 22nd St., be­tween Sixth and Sev­enth av­enues: Per­for­mances of the lat­est pro­duc­tions from Ire­land, and great Ir­ish-Amer­i­can dra­mas.

Fitz­patrick Man­hat­tan, 687 Lex­ing­ton Ave., be­tween 56th and 57th streets: A land­mark ho­tel and a home away from a home for many Ir­ish who come to NYC. You can pick up the Ir­ish pa­pers and have your Ir­ish break­fast, too, with real Ir­ish ba­con and sausage, black pud­ding and Ir­ish soda bread.

McSor­ley’s Old Ale House, 15 East 7th Street: Es­tab­lished in 1854 as a saloon for Ir­ish work­ers, this bar still stands today and is as much a liv­ing mu­seum as a place to re­lax and en­joy a bev­er­age.

The best way to ar­rive in New York is to for­get about fly­ing into JFK. Fly into New Jersey in­stead! From Ne­wark Lib­erty Air­port to Man­hat­tan, by taxi, bus or train, clocks in at around 27 min­utes.

Car hire apart, there are sev­eral rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive ways to get from Ne­wark to Man­hat­tan. The Air Train, $11.55 one-way, will bring you from Ne­wark Air­port to Penn Sta­tion.

Taxi fares (plus tolls) to any Man­hat­tan lo­ca­tion are ap­prox­i­mately $50-75. Sev­eral com­pa­nies of­fer shut­tles to Man­hat­tan in­clud­ing Go Air­link NYC start­ing at $12/per­son; the Ne­wark Lib­erty Air­port Ex­press, $16 one way; and Su­per Shut­tle $15-$19.

CROWD PLEASER: Tourists and New York­ers alike throng Times Square in Man­hat­tan and (be­low right) Paul en­joys the views of Man­hat­tan

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